On July 1st, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will officially be eligible to sign an extension with the Brooklyn Nets. The deal will be for either, 4-years, $184 million, or 5-years, $248 million. The extension would pay Irving $42.7 million per year, which would make him the seventh highest-paid player in the NBA.
But the Nets are still undecided on if they will offer the All-Star guard a long-term extension. Irving only played 29 games for the Nets during the 2022 season because his refusal to get the COVID vaccination made him ineligible to play home games at Barclays Center for most of the year.
If Irving and the Nets don’t agree on an extension by the deadline, he will become an unrestricted free agent and have the choice of joining any team that he wants to in free agency. In a tweet from Ryan Ward of “Lakers Nation,” the SportsBetting.ag sportsbook has Kyrie joining All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in his next destination. The Los Angeles Clippers (+150) have the highest odds to land the All-Star guard if he decides to leave the Brooklyn Nets.
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Sean Marks Sends Strong Message to Kyrie Irving
Since joining the Nets in 2019, Irving has had a long history of unexcused absences, which has impacted the team overall. Multiple reports suggested that Irving’s absence for the majority of the season played a role in James Harden requesting a mid-season trade to the Philadelphia 76ers because of his increased workload.
Since his arrival in Brooklyn, the All-Star point guard has yet to play a full season for the Nets. He has only played in 102 out of a possible 246 regular-season games since his Nets debut in 2019. At the Nets end of the season press conference, general manager Sean Marks had some remarks that seemed to be directed towards Irving, stating that he wanted players that would be available.
“I think we know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here,” Marks said to reporters on May 11 per Kristian Winfield of the “New York Daily News”.
“I think those are going to be discussions. It’s a team sport and you need everybody out there on the court. We saw this year when you have, Kevin missed 27 games with injuries and Kyrie being out for over half the season, that hurts. That hurts from a roster-building standpoint. That’s not what we planned for. Some are avoidable and other excuses are of individual nature and those are the ones that we have to try and avoid”
Only Rebuilding Teams Can Offer Kyrie the Max if He Ditches Nets
If Irving opts to become a free agent, he would be taking a significant pay cut. He would only be eligible for a four-year, $182.1 million deal. But that isn’t the worst part of the deal for Irving. The star guard has been adamant about wanting to win another championship. However, per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post”, if he opts out of his Nets deal, the only teams that can offer Kyrie the max are rebuilding teams who currently have picks in this year’s draft lottery.
“Irving could opt out and leave. He is eligible for a four-year, $182.1 million deal elsewhere, per Spotrac. But the Pistons, Magic, Pacers, Spurs, Trailblazers, and Thunder are the only teams with ample cap room, so Irving opting out seems unlikely,” Lewis writes via the “New York Post”.
“And considering he would be leaving up to $63.5 million on the table by leaving, a sign-and-trade seems equally improbable. A return to Brooklyn seems a fait accompli.”
The clock is ticking on July 1, when Irving becomes extension eligible. It will be interesting to see if both sides can come to a consensus on a new deal.